I’m very excited about the addition to NYC’s recycling program to include for the first time the recycling of all rigid plastics, including toys, hangers, shampoo bottles, coffee cups and food containers. The expansion of plastics recycling – which began April 24th – is part of the City’s Solid Waste Management Plan and is made possible, in part, through a partnership with SIMS Municipal Recycling whose recycling facilities are equipped to handle the broad range of plastic recycling. The recycling expansion will result in more than 50,000 additional tons of waste a year no longer ending up in landfills at a savings to City taxpayers of almost $600,000 each year in export costs, and for rigid plastics, it is recommended that New Yorkers should rinse and recycle it. The City will also expand the organics recycling pilot under way in public schools in Brooklyn and Manhattan to residents in the Westerleigh neighborhood of Staten Island next month, to other neighborhoods this fall and to all City schools over the next two years. The food waste composting pilot cut the amount of garbage participating schools sent to landfills by up to 38 percent. Both programs are part of the City’s effort to make recycling easier for New Yorkers. Earlier this year, in his State of the City speech, Mayor Bloomberg promised an expansion of the recycling program, renewing the Administration’s commitment to doubling the City’s recycling rate to 30 percent by 2017.
This information came from the city. While this is a huge step forward in the city’s recycling program, I’m still shocked that we’re aiming towards a goal of 30% recycling.
I remember *years* ago going to San Francisco and noticing that they have baskets on their public trash cans where you could drop your recyclable drink bottles and cans. It made a tremendous amount of sense and I could never figure out why a great city like NYC couldn’t do something so simple. The city would never even need to pick up the recyclables, because the city’s homeless and impoverished would scoop them up for the $.05 deposit. Honestly this city’s best recyclers are our homeless!
Do you ever stop and think about all the mail-order catalogs that arrive at your home? Then you think about all those catalogs going to all your neighbors and friends and family and it seems overwhelming. Many companies try and use recycled paper, or paper from managed sources. However, there are still plenty of companies buying paper made from the trees of endangered forests in Canada, the US, etc. Peek here to read about a group called Forest Ethics and how they are trying to protect the endangered forests.
Besides recycling those catalogs, you can very easily stop them from coming to your home in the first place. In the past, if you wanted to stop the catalogs, you had to call each company, navigate through their phone system and convince the person on the phone to take you off their list. Not anymore! Catalog Choice has arrived to do all the work for you. For free I might add.
Just click http://www.catalogchoice.org/ to go to their website. You set up an account (they don’t sell your name to others, because that’s exactly what they are trying to help you with). Then you find companies in their database who are sending you unwanted mail. You just opt-out of receiving mail from them and Catalog Choice does the work contacting them.
Sometimes companies print up to 6 catalogs at a time, so it might take a few weeks/months before you stop receiving them. Just be patient and know that you are making a big difference. They even show you how many trees, pounds of greenhouse gas, pounds of solid waste and gallons of water you have saved by opting out of your particular catalogs. I’m a total sucker for those stats!
Happy Holidays! Please share your ideas for gifts for the planet.
Each year I think about all the wrapping paper that gets used and tossed during the holidays. It makes me shiver thinking about all the trees that went into such a one-off item. Since we celebrate both Hanukkah and Christmas, it is on my mind twice this month. We have the Hanukkah bag that Lindsay opens each night. She doesn’t seem to miss the wrapping paper one little big. I haven’t ever gotten nearly organized enough to make loads of bags for Christmas. I aspire to be that organized, but honestly, I’m just trying to get all my knitting and shopping done in time for Christmas morning.
In case you are as horrified as I am at the idea of using wrapping paper, and you have some time to make beautiful gift bags, here are some links. This link is for the bag you see above. It is beautiful and looks super fancy. Nobody would feel disappointed over the loss of wrapping paper with it. Here are instructions for a much simpler bag.
And here are simple instructions from Japan’s Ministry of the Environment for wrapping gifts using a piece of fabric. How great is that?!? And how many of you have struggled over how to wrap a watermelon. Admit it.